Colour schemes come in good, bad – and very, very ugly

Racing car liveries are a subject worthy of a dedicated book, not least for some – ahem – infelicitous colour combinations adopted over recent decades. They range from the simply catastrophic – for which wooden spoon award I commend the 1999 F1 Veltins Williams – to the plain vulgar current Vodafone-chromium and vermilion McLarens.

The Veltins Williams just about took the Edna Everage good-taste award in perpetuity for loading unlovely colour combinations into a cannon and firing it at a hapless car, but there are quite a few worthy challengers, for which I would cite assorted Toleman/Benettons and the save-the-earth Formula 1 Hondas of recent unloved memory.

But non-Indycar racing car liveries have seldom been as curious as one relatively obscure car I do recall. And that is the Lotus 47 driven by two Austrians, named Horst Mundschitz and Gerhard Kramer, in the 1970 Osterreichring 1000Kms.

Perhaps its Valvoline sponsorship decals explained the red and blue in the colour scheme, but adding orange, pink and then yellow was surely over-egging the pudding. Which is what the poor Lotus ended up looking like. But as the Porsche works cars always demonstrated so impressively, compared to function, finish is irrelevant.